So the Bookcrossing Unconvention happened last weekend, held in Birmingham at the Strathallen Hotel. It’s the week before the Conservative Party Convention, which meant that space in the city centre was expensive and/or nearly as rare as hen’s teeth.
I got there around 1pm to help out where I could (watching handbags in the first instance as others came in with boxes of goodies). The rooms were made available to us at 4pm and it was then all hands on deck. A production line was set up to make sure the goodie bags were filled with pencils, quizzes, chocolate, maps, writing pads etc, and stacked in order.
The book buffet was set up, starting with my two bags of books, and filled with that of the early arrivals. Merchandise was set out, as were the lists for the Saturday night dinners, to allow for sign up.
6pm and the people started arriving to register. I sat in the lobby looking for people looking lost and directing traffic. By 7:30, and the welcome message from Katisha50, and I was starving (I hadn’t eaten since before arriving at the hotel), so I left for the evening to grab some food in town – most people had already disappeared to do likewise.
Having thought that the talks started at 10:30, I arrived late into the talk being given by Katharine D’Souza and Fiona Joseph, specifically about women in literature. Following a break for coffee, Simon Michael was introduced by Guy Fraser-Sampson and he gave a funny and interesting talk about his character (barrister set in 1960s London) and his future books. Following a decent lunch provided by the hotel, we came back to Guy giving his own talk, followed by a talk by The Emma Press, and the publication of poetry books.
Exhausted, there was the final raffle, which had some lovely prizes – none of which I won, unfortunately, despite adding 20 odd tickets into various prizes.
Those who had booked rooms in the hotel disappeared for a lie down, and from 6pm we gathered in reception to go out to dinner. Having hoped to get 20 people going to the Chinese, we ended up with 5 of us (somehow I’d been nominated to lead the pack). We ended up being placed beside the kitchen, which another time I would have kicked up a stink about, but having messed them around with numbers a bit, I didnt want to throw my toys out the pram. We ordered the set menu for 5, which was tasty enough – though I did miss having chopsticks! We were out well before 9, and whilst pleasingly full, we were still exhausted, we agreed not to nip into Brindley Place for a mass drinking session!
Lots of photos were taken, items tweeted (under #bcuncon2016) and published to various parts of Facebook (Bookcrossing UK group for starters)
I did better this morning, and actually arrived before 10 am – unfortunately without breakfast, which I proceeded to have in the hotel. It was a reasonable breakfast, despite the lack of standard tea-bags!
One group left at 10, to do a small release walk in the Jewellery Quarter and stock some shelves in the OBCZs. Another one left at 11 to go on a trip on the number 11 bus, taking in places like Bournville. I stayed behind to help clear up, put stuff into boxes for delivering to local hospices, etc. We then took a short walk to find the buildings that inspired Tolkein’s Two Towers. I then went home for a nap, which never happened, and the others went off into town to meet at another OBCZ. I just couldnt face going back into town, so started tidying up and shelving books and goodies (after tweeting more photos!).
Overall a success, if rather tiring!